March 11th, 2010 by Dionna | 18 Comments
Posted in Just for Fun/Miscellaneous, natural parenting, Strive for Balance

In lieu of a post with a week full of toddler/preschooler activities* today, I’m opening up the floor to you.

I’ll start with a confession: I have been spiraling into a fantastic funk over the past two weeks. I think it’s partially chemical (this isn’t the first time I’ve flirted with depression) and partially situational (doesn’t it seem like all the little bad things come in bunches?).

Frankly My Dear . . .

Depression sucks. For me, I start slowly slipping into a near-constant state of “I don’t give a damn.” Activities with Kieran go unfinished. Posts go unwritten. Dinners go uncooked. Emails go unanswered.

And all of those undone things make me feel bad about myself. It is my responsibility to give Kieran fun and educational experiences! I should produce new content on a set schedule! I need to cook healthy dinners for my family! I have to stay in touch with friends, family, and peers!

And so the spiral winds down deeper.

Breaking Free of Depression

Once the shackles of depression have clamped around my spirit it is difficult to break free, even after I realize what’s happening.

I think it would be healthy for me to have a list of things to try when I recognize the signs of depression.

So, friends, what do you do when you feel a funk settling in?

What are your sure-fire ways to get back into a healthy emotional state?**


*The activities from last week on “Ireland” are still appropriate for this week – St. Patrick’s Day is Wednesday!

**Thank you to all of the wise women in my parenting group who answered these same questions for me yesterday.

18 Responses to:

  1. I struggle with winter depression something awful. I lose all motivation, come home from work, lay on the couch, and I don’t want to get up or do anything at all… cook, clean, nothing. I usually don’t even realize it has me in its grip until my husband points it out to me. For reasons I will not get into on here, this past fall I went on Lexapro (which also treats anxiety, which I also struggle with sometimes) and it really helped ease me into winter this year. I didn’t suffer the blues much at all. Now, I realize that medication is not for everyone, and mine is only meant to be temporary, but there are also natural forms that you could try, like St. John’s Wort. The only thing that the Lexapro has not improved for me is my road rage! I think there are just some things in life no medication can ever fix! =P

    You know how to reach me if you ever need to talk. Lord knows I can relate! Hang in there!

  2. Depression does suck. I have struggled with it since, well forever. Something to keep in mind – the opposite of depression is play (I don’t remember the source, I’ll have to get back to you on that). Try jumping up in the air and wiggling back and forth while singing “Garglyarglyargly”. If that doesn’t make you smile, talk to someone who will listen. Also, be kind to yourself. Eating take-out for a week won’t kill any of you. And the friends and family that you haven’t responded to in a week – they love you and won’t drop you if you take some time out for yourself.

  3. Sarah   fthw

    Find someone who will listen, I agree. Even if it’s someone you hardly know, sometimes I just need someone to sit there and nod while I have some word vomit spill all over them. Try not to let it all sink in too bad. Cry. Take some time for yourself, yes, Kieran and Tom are important, but so are you, Get dressed up and go do something that’s just for you. Teach yourself to make sushi (or anything, I just happened to use Sushi the other day.)

    On the other hand, if you find something that really works, let the rest of us know.

  4. Mammapie   Rainbowsouffle

    1) find a way to help someone else. It will make you feel good and show you yr not alone
    2) get creative. Draw, paint, jam out to music
    3) time outdoors in sunshine or at an indoor butterfly zoo place if it’s yucky weather.
    4) chocolate. Enjoy it. Make a point to eat it unless you prefer something else, then go for that.

  5. Acacia

    Have you ever given death to something?
    It looks like this: When I get in a funk, taking everything on my shoulders, I first recognize that i don’t want to let go because it feeds my funk. I spew emotionally what I need to get out. On paper works best for me, though I usually talk to a close girl friend, too. I allow myself to sit in it gently, trying to find the root of the cause. No matter how stupid or shallow it seems, I acknowledge it. I write down everything from “I’m not being a good mom because I haven’t played enough with Everett” to “I haven’t put dinner on the table in a week.” EVERYTHING that is weighing me down and keeping me from feeling good. Then I take what I wrote and burn it, bury it, tear it up. Whatever. I’ve even sewn it into a little black cloth doll and burned that.
    It’s not a miracle worker, it still takes time to get back to “normal” but I feel a shift right away. This even worked for me after I had my miscarraige (which in and of itself was a death to the funk I had been going through at the time so I just continued ceremonially with giving that death what it needed).
    I think it works for me because I allow myself to be in it and allow the depression to do what it needs to do instead of fighting to get out. I make an effort to start something new and fresh, give myself a new goal to give birth to afterwards, too.

  6. I think it is the time of year, I have felt like I have been swimming through jello for the past two weeks, the lack of sunshine doesn’t help any. Couple that with three straight days of migraine and not really being able to turn my head and it has been a picnic I tell ya! My hubby will also recognized when I need a break, so he schedule me a chiropractor appt. tomorrow morning and them a pedicure and massage. I already feel better just thinking about tomorrow. There is a great book call Potatoes Not Prozac, it address how food choices can have huge effects on our brains. I find that when I make poor food choices that my moods get worse and I lack motivation to make healthy food so I make more bad food choices(because they are easier) and get into this really crazy cycle. Studies have shown that diets high in sugar and refined carbohydrate can lead to low self esteem and depression, and we all know the foods we go for when we feel sad.

    Also knowing that I am not alone makes me feel better. My extended family lovingly refers to me as “supermom” which tends to create a bit of pressure to live up to their expectations and feel like I can not have a “down” moment. And remember Kieran loves you no matter what, kids don’t always need scheduled “fun” every moment of the day, just being with mom is fun. There are quite a few nights that we free range it when it comes to dinner or have cream a wheat or oatmeal. The kids love it and I don’t feel quite so bad for not have a REAL MEAL ready(I get to fudge a little on this because my husband works nights, I think if he was home for dinner I would feel worse about feeding them oatmeal,lol).

    I think the most important thing to remember is that life has ups and downs, that is how we learn about ourselves, how we learn to handle life and it is perfectly normal, and I always trust that God will never give me more than I can handle.

  7. Darcel   mahoganywaymama

    I know how you feel. Winter is very hard for me. I have dealt with depression off and on for several years. At times when I don’t feel like cooking,cleaning,blogging,emailing, whatever. I just don’t do it. I remind myself that I don’t ‘have to’ do any of these things.
    I talk to my husband, and sometimes he can see it coming on before I can. He helps me out a lot.
    Sometimes I need a break, and doing something as simple as playing blocks with the girls, or painting with them can make me feel better.
    Some days we’ll sit in front of the TV and watch movies. It’s ok to have what some would consider ‘do nothing days’

    I’ll call my best friend up. She lives out of state, but talking to her always cheers me up.

  8. Melodie   bfmom

    I eat cake. In fact I’m blogging all about it on Monday. Now that you have posted this it’s a good excuse for me to link to you within my post. I think you must be psychic Dionna!

  9. Amber   AmberStrocel

    Getting outside helps me. So does making something with my hands. If I have a craft project I can hold up to demonstrate what I’ve done today, then I feel more together. But, I should point out, I don’t do the project with my kids, because that would likely just drag me deeper into my funk. Dirty secret – I hate crafting with children.

  10. Bev

    Been there too. Lately, what works for me is exercise. It sucks, I hate it, I hate sweating, I hate taking time away from stuff I’d rather do like sleep or watch tv (which are my favorite depression escapes). 30 minutes on the elliptical 2 or 3 days in a row goes a long way towards breaking my downward dive. I find it does a number of things for me. First, I get a little less tense and tight. Next, I begin to remember how much better I feel when I take care of myself (I get a well-being boost). Third, I feel a little more powerful and in charge when I exercise, giving me confidence to deal with other crap. All that plus the actual benefit from the exercise (better sleep, better breathing, feeling less ugly, etc.) Hope this sucky advice (in the sense that I hate being reminded to exercise when I don’t want to) helps. I don’t know hold old your kids are but I look forward to the day when I can play the Wii with my daughter, combining workout with excersise and lowering mommy guilt over enrichment activities vs. nurturing myself.

  11. Joni Rae   kitchenwitch

    I used to suffer from severe depression-it hatched from ppd that was never treated. It got worse and worse until I had a nervous breakdown. Mixed it up with social anxiety so bad I rarely left the house for two years.
    The spring I turned 21 I realized that I couldn’t live like that anymore- I had a little girl that needed fresh air and sunlight!
    So I got a job, went to community college, and met my husband.
    Since then I occasionally feel that old depression creeping in from time to time- when I feel like hiding, when I feel like sticking my head in the sand and ignoring all the beautiful things I have in my life.
    I don’t let it. I put on some loud loud music, I go for a walk, I take the kids to the park, I go shopping, or I break out the craft supplies and we do a really messy art project.
    I refuse to let myself feel sad.
    I’m sorry you are in a funk. It sucks, and I can really relate.

  12. I really put thought into this, and I’m so glad you asked the question. When I think of which moments in my life I am happy and not feeling down, it’s when I’m healthy and active and feel good about myself. It’s like my entire mental disposition is based on whether or not I’m taking good care of my body and my brain. When I indulge in physical activities, get fresh air, dance around to music I love, read a good book, spend time laughing with friends… that’s when I feel good about life. When I lock myself in my room, I give myself a chance to wallow, eat crappy food, skip out on workouts, and overall just not take advantage of life. Today I thought about how I spend my time that is not work and sleep, and I realized that a seriously inordinate amount of my time is spent in front of my computer. So now, after answering this question, I’m going to get the hell out of the house and enjoy the real world instead of being trapped here in front of a virtual one.

    So I guess my answer is live and play and spoil your spirit. I know you have Kieran to think about, but you’re pretty good about introducing him to new experiences, so maybe concentrate on including at least one experience a day that is a you-indulgence. I love you!

    P.S. My tried and true method of getting out of a funk would be impossible for you to utilize, since it’s calling you :)

  13. Lauren @ Hobo Mama   Hobo_Mama

    I don’t have a solution. I know for me it’s just a minute-by-minute choice to be un-funked, and sometimes the choice takes hold and sometimes it doesn’t. I don’t mean to be unsympathetic, but I’m kind of glad to hear you don’t always do all the activities you have planned for Kieran. It makes me feel like less of a failure for barely ever having any activities planned for Mikko at all! And I’m always leaving things unwritten, uncooked, unanswered, funk or no. Maybe we all need to lower our standards?

    Ok, for a tip. Sometimes this works: Do one finite thing. Sometimes if I’ve accomplished something, I feel better and it springboards to the other things I need to do. And sometimes it doesn’t.

  14. Monty


    Tammy put it in a nutshell for you, take time for yourself. You are a good mother and wife but what about YOU.

    Your nut of a brother, love Monty

  15. AFWife

    This may sound stupid, but with a husband who is constantly deployed, it’s easy to get depressed. I combat it with a glass of wine, a bath after kid is in bed, and a good book. I don’t want to take medication so I have to find other ways around it. I force myself to feed Collin good homecooked meals, and I take him to the park to play. It’s amazing what a happy kid can do for you. And when I come home, and I am all alone and my husband is 6000 miles away, I find the solitude I have been craving all day isn’t as needed as it may have been that morning.

  16. Chrystal @ Happy Mothering   HappyMothering

    Hi Dionna,

    Sorry I haven’t gotten back to your email about guest posting. Life has been crazy and difficult with the new little one. I’ll get back to you soon when I can think through topics..

    I had PPD with Zoe so I understand what you’re going through. Are you getting enough “me” time? That really helped me. My husband would kick me out of the house for a couple hours on my own. I’d take a book to Starbucks, go sit on the beach or even just run errands on my own.

    Also, following this plan really helped me. Our diet and habits really affect our moods more than we realize. I was on meds for PPD and I was able to go off of them after doing this for a couple of months.

  17. Paige   babydust

    I suffer from depression and actually take a prescriptions for it. That doesn’t mean I don’t have to manage it constantly though.

    Here’s my best tips:
    1. Get plenty of sleep – 7-8 hours is what the dr. says but I really need 9.
    2. Don’t get too much sleep – when I’m depressed I sleep in too much and nap too much. This makes me feel like a horrible mother/wife and that depresses me. So I sleep. Vicious cycle.
    3. YOGA! Nothing helps me more than the breathing and stillness and mindfulness. If you can’t take it somewhere the dvds with Rodney Yee are awesome. I like “spiritual” yoga classes better than “exercise” focused instructors.
    4. Guided meditation. Belleruth Naperstak changed my life. There are also some free ones on iTunes.
    5. A hot bath!
    6. Chocolate.

    I know some of that (yoga and meditation) makes me sound all “zen” but I’m not. I wouldn’t call myself the “yoga” type (I’m fat) or the meditation type (I’m high strung and hyper-kinetic) but I get a lot out of it despite all this.

    Either way, ((hug)) Your blog-family is here for you.

  18. BluebirdMama   bluebirdmama

    Having dealt with depression off and on for a long time, I know first hand that my two suggestions are going to be so irritating but really, it is:
    1. getting out of the house
    2. exercise
    The reason I find both of these difficult when I’m in a funk is because in a funk I have way less energy and also because my thought patterns are so negative that it takes way more motivation to actually convince myself to do those things. So, no, I don’t actually follow my own advice.
    But I do know that they are probably the two most important factors other than getting adequate rest and ensuring that you’re eating regular meals and snacks to keep blood sugar level.
    You’re not alone Dionna. Many of us have been there and are thinking of you.

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